Testicular cancer at 24
From Harry Fraser
I'm 24 and tall, a little on the slim side but I have always been healthy. For as long as I can remember my right testicle was notably smaller than my left. I know that no-one is perfect so I didn't think much of it.
In February of this year I noticed a small bump on my right testicle. It felt a little bit like half a ball bearing only not as hard and I could only feel it if I stood up and felt it in the ridge between my fingernail and fingertip.
My dad had testicular cancer so I knew what the warning signs were. I went to see the doctor. He had a feel and said he couldn't feel anything but I insisted it was there. He quickly put in for an ultrasound and arranged a hospital appointment. It was indeed cancer. I was also told that with smaller testes the risk increases.
I remember when the urologist told me - I was crushed and on my own. I called my mum and cried down the phone. I was due to be going to Belgium with my girlfriend on the Thursday but this had been cancelled due to the snow. She was annoyed and couldn't understand why I wasn't bothered. I told her my news and burst into tears. The following morning she drove me home to Manchester.
I had surgery the next week. I was told that the cancer hadn't spread. I had my CT scan and regular blood tests and was told that I was under observation with monthly checkups.
In July I had my 3 month CT scan. I thought this would be a formality. I'd gone back into work (in fact a better job in the sector I wanted to be in). And although I'd broken up with my girlfriend (over something different) we were still trying to work things through. Having always been fiercely independent, I went by myself. The consultant asked how I felt. I felt fine and had no problems at all - I'd been swimming and running regularly and I was enjoying work again.
Then he dropped the bomb shell I never expected. My CT showed a small lesion of about 1.4cm in my left lung. I started twitching. It was happening all over again, with no friends or family there once again. I called my family and spoke to my dad. However, the consultant explained exactly what was going to happen and is his words he said the lesion was 'tiny'. The cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes or anywhere else apart from my lung and it was 'curable' - in fact about 99.9% curable. As a result I start a 9 week course of chemotherapy in mid July.
It's going to be a rough few months but I know I'll beat this. I'll work as much as I can to keep my mind ticking over and I have the support of my friends and family.
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